As hard as it is to find technicians, some shop owners are struggling to keep the ones they already have.
“Lately, the churn rate of technicians leaving the industry and going to other industry has been getting higher,” says Robert Spitz, senior VP curriculum for DRIVE, a Monrovia, California-based consulting group specializing in mechanical, collision and heavy-duty-truck repair. “And one of the reasons is the training isn’t there at the shop level to help these apprentices get up to speed and become successful in that environment.”
With that in mind, DRIVE is offering a new workshop called “Developing Shop Playbooks.” The workshop, which will be previewed at the upcoming DRIVE Expo West, is designed to introduce shop owners and managers to the playbook concept, borrowed from the world of sports. Spitz emphasizes that a playbook is “much more than a policy and procedure manual.”
“It’s like a holistic view of how to help onboard a new employee onto this machine that’s going 90 miles an hour all the time, as opposed to just throwing them in the deep end and hoping they can swim,” he explains. “ … I’ve looked at shops’ policy and procedure manuals, and sometimes they’re not geared toward training. They’re geared toward protecting the business.”
In Spitz’s observation, much of a shop’s knowledge is inside the head of the owner, a manager or even a lead technician. The goal of a playbook is to put those best practices in writing, so “everybody understands what everybody else is doing and the best ways of going about doing it.”
A playbook should cover everything from the procedures for properly setting a vehicle on a lift to the best way to greet a customer. But it also should provide a 20,000-foot view of the business, touching on topics such as the history of the business, the philosophy of the owner and how the shop defines success.
In today’s digital age, the playbook should be “a living document,” Spitz adds.
“It’s not something that’s chiseled in stone,” he says. “It’s something that has to be updated, and fortunately in the digital age, updating these things is so much easier than in the old days when it was all just paper.”
At Drive Expo West, which takes place Sept. 27-29 in Pomona, California, DRIVE also will be announcing “The Power of Trust,” a new workshop that tackles a subject that can be “tricky business” for some shop owners, according to Spitz. Trusting employees to deal with customers can be a struggle for some shop owners, and the inability to trust employees, vendors and others can lead to owners “flip-flopping in bed all night, worrying about the business.”
“So we developed this workshop to help our people understand the subject of trust – what it’s about, how to earn it, how to get it back if it’s been lost, how to maintain it, how to look for it and free up their anxiety about some of these positions,” Spitz explains.
DRIVE now has more than 25 workshops designed “to help shop owners in all aspects of mastering the business,” according to Spitz.
“The driving force behind all of our curriculum is expressed needs that develop out of our consulting and business-advising services,” he adds. “When we find these big holes in a shop owner’s knowledge or skill or ability, or a problem that keeps popping up within our client base, we add that to our R&D list of workshops that we want to develop.”
DRIVE Expo West will take place at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona. To register, click here.